A California Senate bill (S.B. 1000) that would require warning labels on sodas
and other sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) was put on hold April 28, 2014,
over concerns about enforcement costs of the legislation. In a 6-0 vote, the
Senate Appropriations Committee referred the bill to its suspense file, which
means it will be reconsidered after the state budget has been prepared.

Introduced in February by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), the bill would require
labels warning of obesity and diabetes risks on all beverages with added
sweeteners, including soda, tea, juice, and almond/rice/soy milk products,
that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. Labels would also be required on
self-serve soda dispensers and restaurant menus.

According to news sources, the California Department of Public Health
expects to incur between $150,000 and $300,000 in costs to adopt regulations
to implement the bill and to allow local agencies to enforce its provisions.
Further, the department anticipates ongoing costs of $400,000 annually to
enforce the bill’s labeling and notice requirements because it lacks inspection
or food-safety enforcement authority at retail sites.

While Monning apparently said that the committee’s decision to move the bill to the suspense file is “common procedure,” the Los Angeles Times reported that he intends to rework the bill to reduce those costs before reintroducing it for another vote later this spring. See Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2014; Law360, April 30, 2014.

 

Issue 522

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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